The Saskatchewan Rush were hoping to return to Saskatoon this week with the National Lacrosse League (NLL) Cup in their possession. But after losing Game 2 of the championship series to the Rochester Knighthawks, the Rush are now looking to secure the title on home turf.
The third and deciding game of the NLL Finals takes place Saturday night in Saskatoon and despite their setback last week the Rush are still as confident as ever.
“Five minutes after the game we moved on. We started talking about this week and our opportunity to be here at home in the deciding game so certainly, there’s no lack of confidence,” head coach and general manager Derek Keenan said.
After cruising to a 16-9 victory at home in Game 1 the Rush admit they weren’t as sharp in Game 2.
“We realize that we didn’t play well. We identified where we were wrong and what didn’t go well. The plus thing is we still got good chances last game but their goalie made some big saves,” defender Ryan Dilks said. “We just gotta shoot the ball better and come with a better attitude.”
The Rush have not lost back-to-back games this season.
“It’s incredible. We don’t lose two games in a row. When we lose one we really regroup and we realize we’re not as good as we think,” forward Jeff Shattler said. “We’re gonna be a different team than in Game 2.”
The Rush won a championship on their home floor in 2016, their first season in Saskatchewan. Last year the season also ended at SaskTel Centre, but it was the Georgia Swarm celebrating after sweeping the Finals. Now the Rush are looking to recapture the feeling from two years ago.
“We know we have the best team in this league. It’s just about going out there and executing. That’s all it comes down to. We gotta bring the work ethic, we gotta play with more desperation, but I take our best effort over theirs and I think we wind up on top,” captain Chris Corbeil said.
The Rush will make one lineup change for the pivotal contest, re-inserting forward Curtis Knight in place of Dan Dawson.
Game 3 goes Saturday at 7:30 p.m. at SaskTel Centre.